Ukraine: EBU approves “1944” for Stockholm

When Ukraine selected Jamala and her song “1944” as their comeback entry for Eurovision 2016, the world’s media was paying attention, asking if the historical content of the song lyrics could also be considered political and therefore in breach of Eurovision rules. The EBU has today confirmed via Twitter that the Reference Group has ruled that “1944” is acceptable for entry in Eurovision.

The song is themed around an event that happened 72 years ago –  Stalin’s deportation of Crimean Tatars from their native Crimea. In 2015 the Ukraine parliament recognised the events of 1944 as genocide, but Russia still does not (although they recently admitted some fault for the events). The big question was – could mention of this historic event be seen as criticism of current-day Russia?

The issue was extensively reported on by media around the world. Many fans assumed the lyrics would considered be too politically charged to comply with the Eurovision rules, which states that “No lyrics, speeches, gestures of a political or similar nature shall be permitted during the ESC.”

But in response to a query on Twitter, the EBU clarified the matter:

The song had another potential issue. The lyrics inverts the text of a traditional Crimean song “Ey, güzel Kirim”, saying, “I couldn’t spend my youth there, because you took away my peace”, which could have also been problematic. But when asked, the EBU confirmed there was no issue.

This means we’ll definitely see Jamala performing “1944” in Stockholm. With Russia entering an upbeat pop song, the two countries couldn’t be further removed in their approaches to Eurovision 2016.

What do you think? Was the EBU right to approve “1944”? Or are the song lyrics too political? Share your thoughts below.